Shunned by 12 buyers, Japanese golf company sells $ 3.5 billion
Japan’s largest golf course owner has never sunk a putt in acquisition negotiations with six of the world’s largest private equity firms – three of them immediately withdrew and none did. made an offer.
But on Wednesday Accordia Golf landed a hole in one: Fortress Investment Group – a fund backed by tech investment giant Softbank – spent $ 3.5 billion on its portfolio of courses, which sold out. for just $ 760 million five years ago. Does Fortress know something that no one else knows or will she beg for a mulligan soon?
On the back nine
Japan is the fastest aging large economy in the world, and let’s face it, golf is a game of old people (find another sport where a 51 years old always wins major trophies against their 20s). Accordia is the largest owner of golf courses in Japan, with 169 or 7.6% of the national total to its credit. It sounds like an investment match made in heaven.
Fortress’s game plan takes that into account – he basically hopes wealthy retirees continue to pick clubs to make up for the dwindling number of young players and corporate rounds. But while Accordia is making a lot of money right now – revenues were up 2% a year before the pandemic – there’s plenty of reason to suspect that this stroke could end up in the drink:
- Last year, 5.2 million people in Japan played at least one round of golf, down 10.3% from the previous year, according to the Japan Productivity Center, and Accordia says its customers in averages 2.7 parts per year, or 11.7 million parts in 2020 – yet private equity firms still wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot 5 iron.
- Here’s how quickly golf is declining in Japan: About one course per week is closing or being converted to a solar farm, depending on the Financial Time.
The tiger effect: In 1991, Japan had 18 million golfers – the sport was a national sensation as the country’s financial sector soared and adopted certain cultural habits from Wall Street. Fortress could bet on new Tiger Woods-style inspiration – this year, Hideki Matsuyama, 29, became the first Japanese player to win the Masters, making him a cultural phenomenon that made broadcasters cry and earned praise from the Prime Minister. Before !